Assertiveness Training: Aggressive and Passive Behavior

Assertiveness is the ability of an individual to express his or her feelings and thoughts without suppressing the interlocutor but without being passive to the interlocutor for reasons such as anxiety and timidity during communication. In short, assertiveness is the ability to communicate without going to aggressive and passive extremes.

Assertiveness is mixed with the concept of self-confidence but it is different from it. However, it can be said that the two concepts are related.

The person who has the emotion may not have difficulty expressing himself/herself or sharing his/her feelings and thoughts. However, assertiveness includes not only expressing feelings but also the way and time of expression. Therefore, from this relationship, assertiveness cannot be reduced to the concept of “self-confidence”

Is assertiveness a positive personality trait?

Some psychologists might say that being assertive is a positive trait. Assertive people are often able to accomplish what they set out to do more smoothly and with less drama.

An assertive person source:

What is Assertiveness Training?

Assertiveness training is designed to help people protect their rights and get what they want from other people. This can include expressing one’s feelings effectively, making one’s wishes known, making requests, saying “no,” and standing up for oneself. People who have difficulties with assertiveness often have problems in one of two ways:

  • The extreme of being overly passive, and never getting what one wants, or
  • Being overly aggressive and getting what one wants, but doing so at the expense of relationships with others. 

Aggressive Behavior

A person with aggressive behavior is primarily focused on their own needs. He knows what he wants and can express, but does not see the needs of others. He ignores the rights of others, ignores their feelings, is often accusatory, and uses the “You” language.

They reach their goals by using others. They can often and easily find errors in others. These people get what they want, but other people don’t like them. Finding the root causes of aggressive behavior is quite complex. The person’s childhood may give some clues.

Passive Behavior

An individual in a passive behavior model focuses on the needs of others before her/himself. They do not have a life of their own, and many are unaware of it. A person with passive behavior is afraid to express his or her feelings and thoughts. Thinks others are taking advantage of him/her. If he/she is not satisfied with a service he avoids seeking his/her rights. These people think they will disturb others because of their own will. They apologize often. They want someone else to understand it before he/she does. Because of these characteristics, they cannot reach their goals, they have frustration and anxiety. 

a diagram about assertiveness. source:

Why is it Important?

Assertiveness training is based on the principle that we all have a right to express our thoughts, feelings, and needs to others, as long as we do so in a respectful way. When we don’t feel like we can express ourselves openly, we may become depressed, anxious, or angry, and our sense of self-worth may suffer. Our relationships with other people are also likely to suffer because we may become resentful when they don’t read our minds for what we are not assertive enough to be telling them. 

Although these ideas may sound simple and straightforward, behaving assertively can sometimes be difficult for almost anyone, and is often impossible for some people. For this reason, assertiveness training focuses not only on talking about the importance of assertiveness but also on learning assertive behaviors and practicing these behaviors with the help of a professional therapist. 

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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